Lessons in the development of large-scale CO2 storage projects

Steve Whittaker, Angeline Kneppers

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Significant reductions in CO2 emissions to atmosphere from established industrial processes such as power generation and also cement, iron and steel production require increased, widespread deployment of commercial-scale CCS projects. Large-scale integrated projects (LSIPs) face different challenges than do smaller pilot and demonstration projects that have contributed much toward technical research. LSIPs have a much larger spatial scale of operation and a much larger temporal scale as they are expected to be operational for many decades and will require on-going monitoring, performance assessments, and must satisfy regulated reporting requirements. Among the most significant factors required to move an LSIP forward is the need to provide confidence internally to the project proponents that the technical appraisal of the project and the prospective business case can justify a final investment decision (FID) of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars or more. Many non-geological factors also have major influence over CCS project success such as regulatory environment continued uncertainty around national and international policy development around greenhouse gas mitigation, and uncertain public support. Considering the large commitment in financial and technical resources required to reach FID, perhaps neither the slow progress in LSIP development nor the highly visible project cancellations and postponements in this nascent industry should be unexpected. Although all project proponents are confronted with unique geological and non-technical issues there are common aspects that may be recognized within projects achieving FID that may be broadly instructive. Storage exploration and site appraisal is a lengthy process that will take years and should not be underestimated. Industrial scale CCS requires a firm and large commitment and investment in human, technical, and financial resources. Recent LSIPs that have achieved FID have employed dedicated full-time subsurface teams for years to reduce uncertainties in the storage plan. Multi-faceted projects such as large-scale CCS require decisions be made even though uncertainties exist at various stages of project lifecycle. There is a critical need to manage these uncertainties in all aspects of the project, particularly when dealing with changes in project scope or framework in order to reach milestones and decision gates. Projects may not always proceed linearly through lifecycles and may need to recycle back to an earlier development phase if appropriate. Interface management around project integration is a critical process that must be actively managed to consider exploration and appraisal requirements. For example, capture requirements feed into storage requirements, and storage limitations may impact capture considerations and project feasibility. Focused stakeholder engagement is required: projects must provide transparency to the community and the regulator; public reviews and technical due diligence exercises such as independent peer reviews bring confidence to the government; environmental assessments bring confidence to the community all of the above build confidence in the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3646-3654
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Procedia
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2012 - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: Nov 18 2012Nov 22 2012


  • LSIP
  • Lessons
  • Project status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)


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